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I grew up dancing to the electric slide at neighborhood block parties in Washington, DC. After watching race riots engulf my street in flames, I became aware of the consequences that come from a lack of dialogue and trust between divided groups. As a teenager I discovered my own creative voice in a Saturday girl’s group, writing and dancing and making sense of the world through a dress up box. It is here I realized the power and necessity for creative expression and storytelling.

Since 2006, I have directed and produced documentaries with communities across my hometown: public housing residents fighting displacement (Chocolate City, 2007), day laborers searching for the American Dream in a Home Depot parking lot (Igual Que Tú, 2009), theatre artists imagining change in schools and prisons (Walk With Me, 2012), teenagers attempting to rewrite their futures (Fly By Light, 2014). Key to my process is the deep engagement with the community which I am not only documenting but also collaborating with, as I hand over the boom pole, share the lens, and bring them into the edit room. I make films because I believe they have the capacity to reveal beauty in surprising places and inspire connection and mutual understanding across dividing lines.

I am a recipient of the 2011 Mayor’s Arts Award, the highest honor given to individual artists and organizations in Washington, DC. My work has been further recognized through funding from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. I hold a Masters in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Screen Documentary from the University of London. I recently returned to the US after 9 months in India as a Fulbright Scholar.

Get in touch:

ellie.walton AT gmail.com